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Old 12-07-2012, 21:14   #1
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Lake Superior Cruising

Hello there. I am new to this site, and slightly less new to cruising. I was thinking of sailing my Catalina 25 from Chequamegon Bay, Wisconsin along the coast of the upper peninsula to Eagle Harbor, Michigan. I know the reputation of Lake Superior and only have experience with extended river cruising. I dont know the best time to sail up there, or if there is any real cover from the weather and availability of anchorages along that route. Any thoughts and advice would be much appreciated.

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Old 13-07-2012, 04:58   #2
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Re: Lake Superior Cruising

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Bret.
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Old 13-07-2012, 06:35   #3
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Re: Lake Superior Cruising

Hi Bret, I sail Superior, although I've never done the route you propose. I'm based out of Thunder Bay, ON, and mostly sail the Canadian north and east shore.

As you already know, Lake Superior is not to be trifled with. It is a lake in name only. In every way except having salt water, it is really an inland sea. Due to the continental location of the Great Lakes, weather tends to be quite variable, so watch out for rapidly moving cold fronts, as well as thunder storms (especially on the south shore).

I've never sailed your proposed route. A glance at the charts suggests it is pretty open, with few anchorages or places to get off should things get ugly. Looking at the Great Lakes Cruising Club harbour reports, there is one anchorage at Presque Isle River. Other than that there are just a couple of marinas available to you along the way. I'd recommend that, along with the proper charts, you get a hold of Bonnie Dahl's Superior Way guide book. It is the bible for cruisers up here. She lists all the viable anchorages and marinas.

Personally, if this was my first trip on Superior in a small boat, I would head into the Apostles. There are far more anchorages available, and the islands will offer shorter hops with much more protection should all hell break loose.
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Old 13-07-2012, 06:38   #4
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Re: Lake Superior Cruising

Welcome aboard, Bret! Best time is probably now through September, but the safe harbors are generally further apart than on the other Lakes. The E-W orientation can bring up some swells at times, and fog is common as well. Don't hurry, pick your weather and stay safe...and have a great trip. Happy Sailing!
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Old 13-07-2012, 07:22   #5
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Re: Lake Superior Cruising

Your cover will be the Black River Harbor and Ontonagon River. Ontonagon has more marina facilities. Black River is primative. From there you need to make it to the Upper Portage Entry (Keweenaw Waterway) and then the next stop is Eagle Harbor. Both are well protected. The Keweenaw waterway is where freighters get out of seriously heavy weather.

It is difficult to make entrance to Eagle Harbor in heavy weather. Make sure you stay on the range from the turning buoy. There are shallow rock reefs on either side.

July is a good month but winds are usually low. Once you get into August things start picking up. Have the ability to get good weather forcasting...VHF weather channels. This will help you avoid getting punished.
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